Andy Kim secures 3rd convention win in NJ Senate primary

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U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D, NJ-3) has secured his third consecutive county convention win in the Democratic New Jersey Senate primary over the state’s First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Kim’s convention wins: On Sunday, Kim won the Hunterdon contest, capturing 120 votes (62% of the total votes) to Murphy’s 64 votes (33%). The lawmaker had previously clinched victories in Burlington County (90%) and Monmouth (59%). The victories in the first three conventions solidify Kim’s position as a formidable contender in the race for the Democratic nomination for the Senate ahead of the primary on June 4.

Kim and Murphy lead the pack in the competition to succeed indicted Senator Bob Menendez, who has yet to announce his re-election bid.

Brief chaos in the convention: Kim's latest victory faced initial challenges after the county chairwoman, a Murphy ally, spearheaded an eleventh-hour proposal to amend endorsement rules at the Hunterdon County convention.

The proposed change aimed to allow candidates securing 30% of the vote to share the coveted county line on the primary ballot, potentially diluting Kim's position. The proposal faced opposition from convention delegates and led to a momentary disruption in proceedings. The proposal was ultimately defeated in a hand vote.

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“They decided that it’s good to have something sprung upon a convention at the last possible second without any ability to discuss or deliberate,” Kim remarked about the proposal. “You saw the reaction from people. They don’t like that.”

Kim's lawsuit against county lines: Known for his advocacy for electoral fairness, Kim recently filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the "county line" on primary ballots. According to a Rutgers study supported by various experts and referenced in Kim's complaint, the county line confers a substantial advantage to candidates who secure it.

“When the choices of primary voters, who by law are the sole judges to determine a party’s nominee for the general election, are cynically manipulated by the Defendants, the result is anathema to fair elections,” the lawsuit says.

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The road ahead: Despite Kim's growing traction, observers anticipate Murphy to clinch endorsements from county parties across Central and North Jersey, particularly chairs of influential counties with ties to businesses associated with Governor Phil Murphy. Counties Essex, Bergen, Hudson and Middlesex notably endorsed Murphy in November immediately after her candidacy announcement.



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